Hodgepodge Coffeehouse owner, Krystle Rodriguez, received a text from her employee about a round plaque glued to her Moreland Avenue building outside her restaurant. It depicted the famous Winnie the Pooh eating a bat with chopsticks captioned with, “Wuhan Plague.”
What We Know:
- These particular plaques have been popping up around East Atlanta at a variety of locations lately. Atlanta Police Department’s (APD) Homeland Security Unit, which investigates bias-motivated crimes, has been notified about the signs but there are no culprits so far.
- Ever since the pandemic got a firm grasp of the planet, reports of harassment towards Asian Americans have skyrocketed around globe due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) originating in Wuhan, China. Asians make up 4% of Atlanta’s population, according to U.S. Census data.
- “It’s doing nothing but reinforcing really awful stereotypes,” said Rodriguez, who posted a photo of the sign on her social media page to mixed reactions. “I have Asian American friends that said its allergy season and they’re afraid to sneeze in public because of all of the hate speech.”
- Advancing Justice-Atlanta, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Asian American communities in Georgia and the Southeast, called the signs “hateful and dangerous rhetoric (that) has consequences.”
- APD police spokesman Carlos Campos said the department’s Homeland Security Unit has been notified about the plaques, but added they don’t appear to meet the criteria for a bias crime.
According to at least three police reports in the past week, sign appearances have started growing. The first was seen April 13 on an electrical box in near Inman Park. Another was found on April 16 on a city lamp post near Reynoldstown. A third was found on the Candler Park Market on April 18.